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some can hurt the heart

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some can hurt the heart

They were identified by a new analysis published in the Journal of The American College Cardiology which shed light on the effect of different micronutrients on cardiovascular health.

Probably everyone knows that a varied and balanced diet, associated with a healthy lifestyle, helps keep the heart healthy. Certain dietary habits, in particular, can help protect and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Especially for those who have recovered from heart disease, experts recommend setting up a diet that ensures a correct supply of antioxidants, such as Omega-3 fatty acids, amino acids and vitamin C, although the usefulness of these micronutrients, often taken as food supplements, has not been fully understood. Finally shedding light on the real effects of different micronutrients is a new analysis published in the Journal of The American College Cardiologywhich identified which ones actually help heart health, as well as which ones offer no benefit either they even have a negative effect.

The research, coordinated by Dr. Simin Liu, professor of epidemiology and medicine at Brown University in Rhode Island, USA, examined a total of 884 studies on micronutrients taken as food supplements, analyzing the results of their consumption on over 883,000 patients. This has allowed researchers to develop “a comprehensive and evidence-based integrative mapwhich characterizes and quantifies the potential effects of micronutrient supplements on cardiometabolic outcomes – explained Professor Liu – . Our study highlights the importance of micronutrient diversity and the balance between health benefits and risks”.

Not all supplements are good for the heart

Antioxidant supplementation has long been thought to play a key role in heart health, because these nutrients promote the reduction of oxidative stress, a known contributor to many cardiovascular diseases. “However, supplementation research has focused primarily on the benefits of one or a few vitamins and minerals” underlined Liu who, together with his colleagues, decided to adopt “a comprehensive and systematic approach to evaluate all publicly available and accessible studies reporting all micronutrients, including phytochemicals and antioxidant supplementsand their effects on cardiovascular risk factors and multiple heart diseases”.

Overall, the studies reviewed evaluated the effects of 27 different types of antioxidant supplements. From these, there was strong evidence that many offered cardiovascular benefits. These included the omega-3 fatty acidwhich reduced mortality from cardiovascular disease; folic acid, which reduced the risk of stroke; And coenzyme Q10an antioxidant sometimes marketed as CoQ10, which has reduced all-cause mortality.

The effects of antioxidant micronutrients on cardiovascular disease risk factors and cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes / Credit: Journal of The American College Cardiology

The effects of antioxidant micronutrients on cardiovascular disease risk factors and cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes / Credit: Journal of The American College Cardiology

Also the omega-6 fatty acidL-arginine, L-citrulline, vitamin D, magnesium, zinc, alpha-lipoic acid, melatonin, catechins, curcumin, flavanol, genistein and quercetin have been shown to reduce cardiovascular risk factors, although vitamin D has shown no effect on cardiovascular disease outcomes and prevention of type 2 diabetes risk.

As stated, not all supplements have proved to be useful for the heart. Scientists have observed that vitamin D, vitamin E and selenium have no effect on long-term cardiovascular disease outcomes. And that beta-carotene supplements increased all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality.

According to the researchers, the study findings indicate a need for more personalized and precision-based dietary interventions involving specific combinations of beneficial supplements. “More studies, including large, high-quality interventional analyzes are needed to investigate the long-term effects of some micronutrients on health – concluded Professor Liu – . Identifying their optimal blend is important, as not all of them are beneficial and some may even have harmful effects”.

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